CHRISTMAS may have been cancelled for The Royle Family but Ralf Little and Craig Cash are still about to cause a TV stir.
This year’s BBC1 festive special has been axed because writers Craig and Caroline Aherne failed to come up with the script in time.
But Ralf and Craig will be raising a smile in the run-up to Christmas thanks to a new TV comedy set in a seaside coffee shop.
The seafront set for Sky1 HD’s The Cafe was so realistic that locals and tourists in Weston-Super-Mare queued to be served.
“There were about 40 people a day trying to come in and get a cup of tea,” said Ralf, when I met up again with him and Craig.
“We would have made a killing if we’d opened for business. They all said it looked so nice.”
Ralf, 31, is care home assistant Richard in the six-part series which he wrote with Michelle Terry, who plays his old flame Sarah.
It is directed by Royle Family co-star Craig, 51, who said locals wanted the freshly brewed telly cafe called Cyril’s to stay.
“Our TV cafe is struggling but in reality we could have made a fortune,” explained Craig.
“It was constructed on the promenade. They wanted to keep it there but we had to take it down.”
The Cafe is made by Jellylegs, the production company formed by Craig and fellow Royle Family writer Phil Mealey.
The 2011 Royle return – also a Jellylegs production – was due to be filmed once again at The Pie Factory on the MediaCityUK site at Salford Quays.
Craig, who plays Dave, told me back in July: “We always leave it a little late. It’s like doing your homework.
“And then it gets to the last minute and that sometimes does help because you’re panicking over it.”
This year’s special was expected to feature the sound of Wythenshawe wedding bells.
Last Christmas over 11m viewers saw Antony, played by Ralf, propose to girlfriend Saskia, played by Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt.
But it was decided to put stars, including Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston as Jim and Barbara, on hold to film a 2012 special instead.
A BBC spokesman said: “We will all miss The Royle Family this Christmas but look forward all the more to their next outing on BBC1.”
Caroline Aherne has also returned to the screen in an online revival for classic comedy The Fast Show.
She filmed several fondly remembered characters, including weather girl Poula “Scorchio” Fisch, for a new series of YouTube mini-episodes.
*The Cafe begins on Sky1 HD at 9pm on Wednesday November 23.